Soon after taking charge as the Congress president, Rahul Gandhi today launched a frontal attack on the BJP, accusing it of spreading hatred and alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was taking India back to medieval times.
Gandhi said the BJP is "fighting for itself", while the Congress is "fighting for everyone" in the country.
The Congress chief said he wanted the party to be an instrument of dialogue with people from all corners of the country, "all religions, all ethnicities, all ages and gender and for our dialogue to be led by love and affection".
He lamented that politics "was being used today to crush the people and not lift them up".
"The BJP is spreading hatred and communalism... they break, while we unite. They ignite fire, we douse it," Gandhi said.
"The Congress took India into 21st century, while the prime minister today is taking us backwards to medieval past when people are butchered because of who they are, beaten for what they believe and killed for what they eat," he alleged.
"This ugly violence shames us in the world," he said in his first address to party men after taking over as the Congress president.
47-year-old Rahul Gandhi took charge of the Congress in the presence of his mother and outgoing president Sonia Gandhi, sister Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra, her husband Robert Vadra, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and other senior party leaders.
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Reaching out to the youth, he said as "it is stated that the Congress is a grand old party we will make it a grand old and young party... we will fight all hatred with love."
Rahul Gandhi said the Congress party is like a family to him and vowed to take it forward.
(With PTI inputs)